Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Virtual Book Tour & Review: The Queen's Gamble by Barbara Kyle

First line: Isabel Valverde was coming home. 

From the back cover: Young Queen Elizabeth I's path to the throne has been a perilous one, and already she faces a dangerous crisis. French troops have landed in Scotland to quell a rebel Protestant army, and Elizabeth fears once they are entrenched on the border, they will invade England.

Isabel Thornleigh has returned to London from the New World with her Spanish husband, Carlos Valverde, and their young son. Ever the queen's loyal servant, Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels. Yet Elizabeth's trust only goes so far - Isabel's son will be the queen's pampered hostage until she completes her mission. Matters grow worse when Isabel's husband is engaged as military advisor to the French, putting the couple on opposite sides in a deadly cold war.

Set against a lush, vibrant backdrop peopled with unforgettable characters and historical figures, The Queen's Gamble is a story of courage, greed, passion, and the high price of loyalty...

My thoughts: This is the fourth in Barbara Kyle's Thornleigh series and when I saw it going on tour, I jumped at the opportunity to be part of it. I had the first three books sitting on my shelf but hadn't gotten around to reading them. Because I am so anal when it comes to reading series, I ended up reading the first three and then read this one. What a great series!!! My reviews of books 1-3 will be posted within the next week, so be sure to check those out, too.

In The Queen's Gamble Isabel Thornleigh is on her way home to London with her husband, Carlos, and their young son, Nicolas. Once there, Isabel finds herself being pulled into the newest threat against the new queen - the religious turmoil threatening to spill into her kingdom. As a Spanish citizen, Carlos is loyal to the Spanish King and Isabel and Carlos find themselves on opposite sides of this harrowing situation. This leads to quite a thrilling, edge-of-your seat page turner. Between the danger and the intrigue and the romance, it was hard to put the book down.

While the focus of this book is on the actions of fictional characters Isabel and Carlos and the rest of the Thornleigh and Grenville families, there are many cameos of actual historical figures such as Queen Elizabeth, William Cecil, and the de Guises. I first came to love historical fiction when I was given some of Phillipa Gregory's Tudor books. Since then, I love reading all the accounts of life at the court. With Barbara Kyle, I found her approach to this time period to be very compelling. I loved how the royal characters were not the forefront of the book. Creating fictional characters and setting them in this time period allows the reader to really get a feel for what life would be like, with all the danger and intrigue that comes with living during this time. 

As I was reading The Queen's Gamble, I didn't want it to end because I got so involved with these characters and I didn't want to let them go. I was thrilled when, in reading the Author's Notes, Barbara Kyle mentioned that there will be another book. The only downside is that I have to wait for her to finish writing it.

About the author: Barbara Kyle is the author of the Tudor-era “Thornleigh” series of novels, which have been published internationally: The Queen’s Captive, The Queen’s Lady, and The King’s Daughter, praised by Publishers Weekly as “a complex and fast-paced plot, mixing history with vibrant characters.” Her new novel, The Queen’s Gamble, was released on 30 August 2011.

Barbara previously won acclaim for her contemporary novels under pen name ‘Stephen Kyle’, including Beyond Recall (a Literary Guild Selection), After Shock and The Experiment. Over 400,000 copies of her books have been sold.

Barbara has taught courses for writers at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers organizations. Her popular series of video workshops “Writing Fiction That Sells” is available through her website. Before becoming an author, Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the U.S.

You can visit Barbara Kyle online at

 I received a complimentary copy of The Queen's Gamble by Barbara Kyle from Pump Up Your Book  as part of the tour.



  1. Kristin, I'm delighted that you so enjoyed "The Queen's Gamble" - music to an author's ears! I really appreciate this chance to reach out to your readers. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for the fabulous review, Kristin. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I loved this one too. I want to go back and read the previous books.

    I hope your readers get a chance to check this one out.

    All my best,


  3. @ Barbara: Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by my blog...I look forward to reading more of the Thornleigh's adventures!

    @ Cheryl: Glad I was able to participate in the tour.

  4. Cool, I had no idea it was part of a series. I must admit I too now am into novels where the royals are not the main character. Sounds good I will have to add them to my list. Great review!

  5. Your award deal is hilarious, I made a stand alone page for mine and have not received a single one since I did it. Figures.

  6. @lizzy J Thanks Lizzy...I really enjoyed this entire series. And about the awards - I just kept forgetting to post them when I received them and saw similar wording that I have on someone else's blog and decided to do that.


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